Locally supported orphanage holds successful fundraiser

November 18, 2015   ·   0 Comments



By Tabitha Wells

The Gerladina Orphanage and Education Centre in Tanzania just experienced their most successful annual fundraiser since the centre’s inception in 2007, which means that construction can continue on their new building, allowing them to help more children and meet Tanzania’s building regulations.

In September, the Citizen wrote about the orphanage and the involvement of local resident Emily Mallett, who has played a key role in the project since its beginning (found on-line at

Along with providing homes to many of Tanzania’s orphans, it also acts as one of the only elementary schools in the area to teach in English, which prepares students for the English-speaking high schools.

The fundraiser, called Brighten Our Future, was held in Toronto in early September, and not only saw the biggest crowd yet, but out of the efforts of the three organizers, saw $6000 in funds raised that evening.

“The best part of the evening, in my opin- ion, was that 12 more children were sponsored by individuals or families that night,” explained Ms. Mallett. “Quite a few of those came from friends of people who had attended the event and decided to reach out.”

The funds raised at this year’s event will go toward the completion of the girls’ and boys’ latrines and septics, the completion of a third classroom, and allow for construction to begin on a fourth classroom.

“We’re supposed to have a minimum of four classrooms and a latrine, but the Tanzanian government has given us special lenience be- cause of our situation,” said Ms. Mallett. “For the new school year in January, we are well on our way to reaching those goals.”

Currently, the children still live in the for- mer Gerladina building while the dorms are being completed, which will allow for them to help more children. One of the biggest problems they are facing at the older building is that the boys and girls are only separated by a big wall, and many of the children are becoming teenagers.

“There haven’t been any incidents, but Thadeus, the founder, is concerned in case something did happen,” said Ms. Mallett. “In the new centre, the buildings are in completely different sections. That’s why it’s so important we get this done.”

She added that if they aren’t able to get this done, it is likely that they would have to move the boys to a different place, which would mean tearing them away from the family they’ve formed after losing their own families.

“We can’t afford to wait for next year’s fundraiser,” said Ms. Mallett. “We need to make a funding push for this now.”

As noted earlier, the Gerladina Education Centre is unique in that it is the only elementary school in the region that teaches English. During her first interview, Ms. Mallett explained that while the children are taught in English once they reach high school, they are often too far behind to complete their education.

The centre is a complete grassroots organization, that began as a dream by Thadeus, whose heart went out to orphans after he lost his own mother. Thadeus, a native to Tanzania, met Ms. Mallett during her own trip to Tanzania, and they began to work together on the dream of Gerladina.

“Thadeus is held in such high regard there, and he doesn’t want anything to happen to any of the kids,” added Ms. Mallett, referring to the concerns about their aging orphans.

The program receives little funding — mainly through donors who are aware of it, and those who have sponsored children to at- tend the school. As of September, there were 64 sponsored children attending the school, with 24 of them at the orphanage. The new building will allow for 100 boys and 100 girls to stay in each of the dormitory wings.

Excluding the $6000 raised at this year’s fundraiser, the project will require approximately $100,000 to complete.

“I would really love the opportunity to host a fundraiser event in Orangeville,” said Ms. Mallett. “The community is so great here, and it would provide an opportunity to introduce Gerladina to everyone and let them know who we are. Everyone has already been so great to us here.”

She added that there have been several local organizations who have already assisted in their fundraising goals, including Sproule’s Emporium and From the Kitchen to the Table, who provided donations for the Brighten Our Futures silent auction table.

Back in Tanzania, Thadeus and his team are doing all that they can to ensure a successful future for the Gerladina Orphanage and Education Centre. Thadeus is heading to Dar Es Salaam to finish his PHD studies; a massive accomplishment for someone his age in Tanzania.

“He hates to be away from the kids, because they are his family,” said Ms. Mallett. “But for him to be a PHD gradu- ate, well, most people his age don’t even have a primary or secondary education. This is an incredible milestone and will help further equip him to run the school.”

While he is away, the house mother and extended family will be helping to run the school and the orphanage, and keep things moving along.

“Thadeus will be making sure work is well under way on the new building,” added Ms. Mallett.

Although their current website is still under construction, anyone interested in finding out more about the orphanage, making a donation or becoming a sponsor can reach out via their Facebook page at

Readers Comments (0)

Please note: Comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.